ROME, November 16 (Reuters) – Italian and French leaders Mario Draghi and Emmanuel Macron will sign an agreement next week to try to tip the balance of power in Europe after the departure of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a government source said. .
Details of the deal were not disclosed, but another Italian official said it would strengthen cooperation between the countries in areas spanning the economy, trade, tourism and culture.
The project was first brought up in 2018 under then-Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, but relations between Rome and Paris deteriorated after Gentiloni was replaced that year by the populist government of the League and 5 Star Movement.
Under Draghi, ties between the two countries are fully restored and he and Macron are increasingly eager to act in tandem to shape European politics after years of bitter feuds between the two countries.
“Macron wants a stronger link with Italy and Italy wants to fit into the traditional partnership between France and Germany,” said the second Italian official, on condition of anonymity.
Italy’s intention is for the treaty to be named after the Italian president‘s Quirinal Palace where it will be signed, the first source said.
Details on the substance of the treaty have not yet been released. A spokesperson for Draghi declined to comment, while Macron’s office said it could not confirm the meeting between the two leaders at this point.
Tensions between Rome and Paris peaked in early 2019 when France briefly recalled its ambassador over a dispute involving immigration.
The last meeting between Draghi and Macron took place in Paris last week, dealing with the political transition in Libya, an issue of strategic importance for the two leaders. Read more
Report by Angelo Amante and Giselda Vagnoni, additional report by Michel Rose in Paris, edited by Gavin Jones and Jon Boyle
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